After finishing my presentation notes for class next Tuesday and getting about a page and a half written on one of my final papers (which won't be hard to finish and is not due for two more weeks), I figured I'd been productive enough for one day.
This evening, I opened up my Chanbara draft file, and set to work revising and categorizing the Secrets, or magical special abilities.
I wanted to get rid of a lot of the ones I'd created before that were die mechanics tricks. Getting to roll two dice and keep the better, or rerolling if you fail, or whatever is nice and all, but it's not very flavorful.
The new set still keeps a couple of those, but mostly they are now magical things you can do, or protections from magical things others might do to you.
They're also organized into six categories now: Gogyou (the Five Elements), Hikyou (Esoteric), Ki (Life Energy), Tamashi (Spirit), Yang (Active Principle) and Yin (Passive Principle). Yes, Yin and Yang are Chinese, the Japanese for them is In and You. I'm thinking about how much Japanese I should actually use in this game, and most English speakers are already familiar with Yin/Yang.
With these revisions, I'm finished with the special abilities (equivalent to the Martial Arts Maneuvers in Flying Swordsmen), and think they will go a long way towards customizing characters, making the game more fun, and giving it that "mythic Asia" feel.
Next, I'll revise the character class descriptions a bit, then it's time to re-read and edit the spells and "running the game" sections, work on my idea for background abilities a bit, and finally write up the campaign world section.
I'm also considering if I should add a couple more playable races, or if I should go human-centric, and move the yokai races to an appendix as an option.